The results are in, folks. Cleveland now leads the nation in the category of "providing access to splash pads and water play infrastructure" at area parks. With 10.5 such features per 100,000 residents, Cleveland has tied with Boston in the Trust for Public Land's annual ParkScore rankings.
Cleveland ranked 35th overall, improving two spots from last year's position. Cincinnati is the only Ohio city in the Top 10, scoring eighth. The top three cities were Washington D.C., Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
But Cleveland is killing it with the splash pads. The national ParkScore average is only 1.2 splash pads per 100,000 residents.
"Cleveland also scored well on the park access rating factor," per the Trust for Public Land. "According to ParkScore, an impressive 82 percent of Cleveland residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, above the national ParkScore average of 72 percent. However, Cleveland’s ranking was hurt by its relatively small median park size (3.0 acres vs. the national ParkScore median of 5.0) and because the city reserves only 7 percent of city land for parks, compared to the national average of 9.4 percent."
The ParkScore rankings are conducted to promote the fact that 11.2 million people in the nation's 100 largest cities do not have a park within a 10-minute walk of their homes. Parks are critical, the Trust for Public Land has argued, to encourage exercise and outdoor play for children, improve the social and psychological health of nearby residents, and to build healthy, stable communities.
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